New Jersey is well-known for many reasons, but primitive camping isn’t one of them. The garden state tops the list in population density, but there’s a tract of land in the southern part of the state that encompasses 115,000 acres of beautiful pine forests and winding rivers. Wharton State Forest, aka “The Pine Barrens”, is the largest wilderness area in all of New Jersey and it’s a treasure for camping adventures. Oh, and did we mention that it’s only an hour outside of Philadelphia, and less than 2 hours from New York City?
[funky_quote ] The Pine Barrens is the largest wilderness area in all of New Jersey and it’s a treasure for camping [/funky_quote]
For being so close to these metropolitan areas, Bodine Field still encompasses the true nature of primitive camping. You won’t find paved roads, gravel tent pads, and no rusty metal fire rings. In fact, there are no established campsites so you’re free to set up camp wherever you like. There’s a water pump in the middle of the camping area and several pit toilets dispersed throughout but everything else you must bring in, and of course carry out with you. Firewood may be hard to find near the camping area, but there’s a number of local residents that sell wood for a fair price.
[funky_quote ] here you can find solitude, even on summer weekends. [/funky_quote]
Bodine Field is the largest of the six primitive camping areas within Wharton State Forest and here you can find solitude, even on summer weekends. The sandy ground is wonderful for sleeping and water drains quickly so don’t let a little rain prevent you from visiting. Although the access roads are unpaved, most cars won’t have any problems getting to the camping area, just be careful of some of the deeper sand areas once you’re back there. For the boaters (and floaters) there’s a boat launch on the western side of the camping area and hikers will appreciate the 50+ mile Batona Trail that snakes its way throughout the forest.
Bring With You
- If you’re used to camping with a table, plan on bringing your own.
- Tarp or free-standing shelter for the sun & rain (shady sites are rare here)
- Water Jug
Not necessary, but a permit is required. Visit the park headquarters to pick one up.
$3 for NJ residents, $5 for non-residents.
Get TherePark Headquarters: 31 Batsto Road Hammonton, NJ 08037
Click on the yellow point to get directions and coordinates.